Should we do more sports at school? Last Saturday, as team sports shone at the Tokyo Olympics, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer published a glowing tweet about physical education and sports, a message that didn’t really please professional athletes. For her part, the President of the French Olympic and Sports Committee, Brigitte Henrique, made it clear on Sunday in Europe 1, that we must continue to encourage sports at school to create the champions of tomorrow.
“Long live team sports! Long live EPS! The success of our EquipeFRA #BHV demonstrates the quality of teaching these sports in school,” Jean-Michel Blanquer tweeted last Saturday after medals at the Tokyo Olympics for French basketball players, handball players and volleyball players. A message that was immediately ridiculed by some great French athletes such as basketball player Vincent Poirier.
I still rarely play basketball in school but calm down https://t.co/ARtwAK8208
– Vincent Poirier (@viinze_17P) August 8, 2021
Others, such as Professional Handball Players Association president and former goalkeeper Vincent Gerrard or rugby player Maxime Mermoz, have pointed to the lack of resources dedicated to the discipline.
Glad to see the EPS on the RS. Because actually…
Like the rest of the teaching elsewhere
The means are not there… https://t.co/CQZtnzxGmB
– Gerard Vincent (@Gerard_Vincent) August 8, 2021
Creating a true “sports culture” in school
Three years before the Paris Olympics, the president of the French National Olympic Committee made school sports a priority. With regard to Europe 1, it particularly welcomes one of the latest government investments: €100 million to promote club practice for children aged 6-16.
But Brigitte Henrichs would like to go further. For the head of the National Olympic and Sports Committee, physical activity should be more important within schools. She imagines American schools, colleges, high schools, and even universities. “When I was an international player (note football), I practiced a lot in the States. And even if I didn’t envy everything there, surely this sporting culture, practicing like that, but also winning, always fascinated me,” says Brigitte Henrik. “This sports culture has to be born at school time. It’s important, it’s education. It’s a way of life,” she continues.
“Support our high-level athletes even more” at the university
Thus, thirty minutes a day of sports for schoolchildren will not be enough. To support her claims, Brigitte Henrik takes the example of our German and British neighbors. “They don’t have lessons in the afternoon anymore, and I think it’s something we can also put into place,” she says.
School is not a factory of heroes yet, but it can become one factory. In universities, it is necessary to “train within university time, but also to support more high-level athletes so that they have a dual professional project,” says Brigitte Henrik. As in the United States. “A very interesting model”, but it is unequal compared to France, it qualifies. “In France, we really have this opportunity to allow anyone who wants to be able to train,” concludes Brigitte Henrique.
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